Pakalana: Monthly Fragrance Spotlight


The pakalana flower is an island favorite known for it’s vibrant yellow-green color in intertwined lei and its subtle but sweet scent that is simply irresistible. Also known as a Chinese violet, the pakalana is believed to have been brought over to Hawai’i in the mid-1800’s from China. This flower is yet another beautiful representation of cultures blending and evolving in the Hawaiian islands.

Pakalana lei are often made up of delicate strands in odd numbers (1 strand, 3 strands, 5 strands, etc.) that together create a sophisticated and cultivated lei, meant for special occasions. Pakalana strands also stand out when entwined with other flower lei. My personal favorite is a single pakalana strand wrapped around three pikake strands.

However, pakalana is not easily found year-round. The flower is at its best in the summer months, or from April to September. It is said that the pakalana are best to harvest in the morning and they are most fragrant at night. Although some may think the pakalana vine looks thin and weed-like during its off season, the fragrance from the vine in full bloom makes it all worthwhile.

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